At a time when advances in medicine and medical technology are advancing at record speeds, we have a system of medical care that is failing in many ways. Theoretically, everyone in America has access to health care, regardless of their financial status, but the delivery of this health care has been hampered by Byzantine bureaucracy and incompetence that has established itself between the patient and his or her medical provider.
I do not support the imposition of any government-run universal health care, known to some as ‘socialized medicine’, because such a system is worse than it is now. Along the way, I saw the consequences of government-run health care systems: backward and overcrowded institutions, long waiting times, health care rationing, and de facto euthanasia, especially for the elderly.
On the other hand, the system in America is dominated by the interests of companies that do not list patient welfare. Monopolies dominate health care systems and have gradually forced independent doctors, research institutions and pharmacies to close down, replacing them with bean counters, whose only concern seems to be to squeeze every penny out of the patient and his insurer.
Independent pharmacies that know their customers have been replaced by huge corporate networks that change employees more often than most change socks. Insurance companies and the government know this and have responded by limiting benefits to patients through complicated insurance rules or drug formulas that make absolutely no sense.
We have corporate healthcare giants on the one hand, and huge insurance companies and the government on the other, like two flaws in the middle of which a patient and his doctor are caught, so health care is mediocre. or nothing at all.
I’m sure most of us have our own medical horror stories. I have my own, although I am blessed with good health and good insurance.
I am taking exactly one generic prescription drug, but lately, completing this scenario has become a major time-consuming effort. My doctor sent a prescription to a chain for a pharmacy that was “first” under my primary insurer, Medicare Advantage, a plan for a local health monopoly.
The pharmacy could not fill it because it was not included in the medication formula of my policy insurer. Okay, I thought because the drug was insured in my secondary insurance company’s formula, but here’s the fun.
The online pharmacy was either unable or unwilling to bill the secondary insurer (a subsequent investigation revealed that it was the latter and only their laziness). The insurance company’s help desk even called the pharmacy to explain the process, and after the first call, the pharmacy staff stopped answering.
After a week of disputes and hours spent on the phone with the pharmacy and my insurer, I surrendered and handed the script over to a local independent pharmacy, and SHAZZAM! the recipe was written in minutes. I wonder how many of my fellow seniors who are less persistent or less informed than me have given up and paid out of their own pockets or have given up in similar circumstances?
My situation was pretty good, but there are many worst cases.
I remember waiting for a prescription at another online pharmacy last year when a young family came with a sick child. They were placed in emergency care and their little girl needed medication. There were half an hour left until closing and I was the only other customer.
The pharmacy assistant told her father they were busy and asked her to return the next day. The father barely lost it and eventually received medication for his girlfriend. However, the incident reminded us of how few patients are included in the corporate health care survey.
The bottom line is that health care in America has fallen victim to both corporate greed and government incompetence. The victims are our doctors, who are forced to deal with a huge bureaucracy, and the patients who have to worry about not receiving the care or medication they need.
It will be difficult to change all of this, largely because our politicians favor government-run healthcare or have been bought by large pharmaceutical, medical or insurance lobbyists. Wondering how many Americans are paying with their lives for this broken system?
Dwight Weidman is a resident of Greene Township and is a graduate of Shepherd University. He retired from the United States Department of Defense, where his career included assignments in Europe, Asia and Central America. He has led the Republican Party in two states, most recently serving as chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party for two terms. Since 1996 he is an Internet publisher, publisher of The Franklin County Journal. He has been an amateur radio operator since 1988, licensed for the first time in Germany, is a former Navy and Army MARS, a military auxiliary radio service volunteer, and is an NRA-certified firearms instructor.